The city’s year-and-a-half-long effort to find a buyer for the the Dunham Hunt House, 305 Cedar Ave., is nearing a conclusion.
A week ago, the St. Charles City Council voted unanimously to authorize the execution of a sales contract for the property, which was deeded to the city in 1986 and had housed a museum for a time in the years that followed.
But in recent years, the property has sat vacant, and during that time, city officials say the property has been shown more than 50 times, resulting in six offers.
Annette E. Shairf and Edward Schneider submitted the winning bid of $160,000. According to a staff memo to the City Council, the couple plan to restore the home for two to three years before opening it as a bed and breakfast.
There still are details to be worked out in the deal. Two additional buildings besides the house will remain on the property for now but are not included in the sale. The city has six months to find a site for those buildings, one of which is a former law library, the other the Shelby belltower.
The St. Charles Public Library Web page on the Dunham-Hunt home states that the historic home was built in 1836 by Bela T. Hunt, one of the first settlers of the settlement that then was called Charleston. Hunt became a successful businessman in the community. The home was the first brick house built in the settlement and remained in the Hunt family until 1980, when it was purchased by historic preservation advocate Jane Dunham.
Dunham restored the home and soon reopened it as the Dunham-Hunt Museum, which she sold to the city in 1986, according to the library’s Web page on the home. The museum remained in operation until Dunham’s death in 1995, but reopened in early 1998 under the St. Charles Heritage Society.